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The torturing of dumb animals in the presence of a 
class of young people for the purposes of instruction 
is inhuman, brutalizing and infamous. Far better is* 
it, for both society and the individual, that the 
scholar should know nothing that is taught in the 
schools, than that he or she should be thus degraded 
and turned into a brute. The monster in human 
form who could give such an exhibition to young 
persons, or who could defend it in another, ought 
not one hour longer to be tolerated for a teacher of 
youth. He ought to be dismissed instantly. And a 
Superintendent of a School Board who could tolerate 
such a wickedness ought not longer to be suffered 
to misrepresent a community of men and women. 
Words fail me to express the horror with which doings 
of this kind fill my soul. 

Very truly yours, W. W. Niles, 

Bishop of New Hampshire. 

Printed for the 

62^ Strand, London, W.C. 







Printed for the 

62, Strand, London, W.C. 



Part I. — The Facts Regarding Vivisection. 
Part II. — Is Torture for a good end justifiable ? 

Part III. — A Rejoinder (to criticism by Mr. Hickson, F.R.S. 

— See Prefatory Note). 


The following articles were written for the magazine 
published by the South Place Ethical Society, in 
response to the invitation of the Editor, who desired to 
open a discussion on the subject of Vivisection. He 
informed me that a prominent man of science had 
undertaken to support the pro-vivisectional side of 
the controversy, and I was asked to open the discussion 
by stating the anti-vivisectional position. My two first 
articles were devoted to this purpose. My opponent, 
Mr. Sydney J. Hickson, M.A., F.R.S., then criticised 
my position, and stated his own. His permission was 
asked to reprint his article here, but he writes requesting 
that this shall not be done. My third article in this 
series is a rejoinder to Mr. Hickson. 

Mona Caird. 


Professor Henry J. Bigelow, M. D., late professor 
of surgery in Harvard University — '"The horrors of 
vivisection have supplanted the solemnity, the 
thrilling fascination of the old unetherized operation 
upon the human sufferer. Their recorded phenomena, 
stored away by the physiological inquisitor on dusty 
shelves, are mostly of as little present value to a man 
as the knowledge of a new comet, . . . contemp- 
tible compared with the price paid for in agony 
and torture. . . . 

" I have heard it said that ' somebody must do 
this.' I say it is needless. Nobody should do it. 
"Watch the students at vivisection. It is the blood 
and suffering, not the science, that rivets their 
breathless attention. If hospital service makes 
young students less tender of suffering, vivisection 
deadens their humanity and begets indifference to it. 

" The reaction which follows every excess will in 
time bear indignantly upon this. Until then it is 
dreadful to think how many poor animals will be 
subjected to excruciating agony as one medical 
college after another becomes penetrated with the 
idea that vivisection is a part of modern teaching, 
and that, to hold way with other institutions, they, 
too, must have their vivisector, their mutilated 
dogs, their Guinea pigs, their rabbits, their chamber 
of torture and of horrors, to advertise as a labora- 
tory." — [From the annual address before the Massa- 
chusetts Medical Society. 

More Medical Opinions on Vivisection. 

Sir Thomas Watson, M. D., ex-President Royal 
College of Physicians— " One of the greatest phy- 
sicians who ever lived . . . Sir Thomas Watson, 
told me himself, not long before he died, that young 
men had to unlearn at the bedside what they had 
learnt in the laboratory." — [From speech of Canon 
Wilberforce, June 22, 1892. 

Surgeon General Charles Gordon, C. B., Honorary 
Physician to the Queen — " I hold that the practice of 
performing experiments upon the lower animals, 
with a view to benefiting humanity, is fallacious." 
— [Speech, June 22, 1892. 

W. Martin, F. R. S.— " I have come to the conclusion 
that no good has ever been derived from any painful 
experiments on living animals. ... I have never 
heard that practical surgeons have ever resorted to 
operations on living animals in order to teach them 
how to operate on the living subject, i. e., on man." 


Dr. J. D. Buck, of 116 West Seventh Street, said: 
" Vivisection is seldom, if ever, justifiable. Nothing 
is to be gained that would be of practical benefit to 

Fourteen prominent physicians, who do not desire 
that their names be printed, said to a Post reporter 
that vivisection was of no practical benefit, chiefly 
because the anatomy of the human system cannot be 
learned from that of one of the lower animals. Even 
in mankind, said they, there are variations in the 
relative positions of the various organs. Nerves, 
veins and arteries do not run alike, there being as 
great a variance as there is in the size of people. 
The wholesale vivisection of animals, birds, etc., as 
practised in many of the colleges, was declared by 
them to be cruelty. 

The ethics of the profession kept many from say- 
ing all they wanted to about the matter. 

Cincinnati Post. 


The Presidential Address in the Section of State 

Medicine, Annual Meeting of the British 

Medical Association, Portsmouth, 

August, 1899. 

by george wilson, m.a., m.d., ll.d. 

" After all these long years of flickering hope, I am 
prepared to contend that the indiscriminate maim- 
ing and slaughter of animal life with which these 
bacteriological methods of research and experimen- 
tation have been inseparably associated cannot be 
proved to have saved one single human life, or les- 
sened in any appreciable degree the load of human 

" I have not allied myself to the anti-vivisection- 
ists, but I accuse my profession of misleading the 
public as to the cruelties and horrors which are per- 
petrated on animal life. When it is stated that the 
actual pain involved in these experiments is com- 
monly of the most trifling description, there is a 
suppressio veri of the most palpable kind, which 
could only be accounted for at the time by ignorance 
of the actual facts. I admit that in the mere opera- 
tion of injecting a virus, whether cultivated or not, 
there may be little or no pain, but the cruelty does 
not lie in the operation itself, which is permitted to 
be performed without anaesthetics, but in the after- 
effects. Whether so-called toxins are injected under 
the skin, into the peritoneum, into the cranium 
under the dura mater, into the pleural cavity, into 
the veins, eyes, or other organs — and all these meth- 
ods are ruthlessly practiced — there is the long-drawn- 
out agony. The animal so innocently operated on 
may have to live days, weeks, or months, with no 
anaesthetic to assuage its sufferings, and nothing but 
death to relieve. 

And what triumphs has bacteriology achieved in 
stemming the tide of human disease on these empiri- 
cal lines? Pasteur's anti-rabic vaccination is, I be- 
lieve — [and others with me] — a delusion. Koch's 
tuberculin cure for phthisis has long since been 
labeled as worse than worthless " 

(From the Boston Journal of June 19.) 


The Famous Surgeon Tait and His Interesting 

It is worthy of remark that Prof. Lawson Tait, 
whose death deprives surgery of one of its most bril- 
liant leaders, was strongly opposed to vivisection. 

Any one who ever heard Lawson Tait speak and i 
recalls his virile personality and the impression of 
immense power his mere look conveyed, knows that 
he was no sentimentalist. 

Students intoxicated with their first experiment, 
and older men under the spell of the dogmatic biolo- 
gist who knows not mercy, would do well to read his 
words in the Birmingham Daily Post (England), of 
Dec. 12, 1884: 

"Like every member of my profession, I was 
brought up in the belief that by vivisection had been 
obtained almost every important fact in physiology, 
and that many of our most valued means of saving 
life and diminishing suffering had resulted from ex- 
periments on the lower animals. I now know that 
nothing of the sort is true concerning the art of 
surgery, and not only do I not believe that vivisec- 
tion has helped the surgeon one bit, but I know that 
it has often led him astray. In the interests of true 
science its employment should be stopped." 

June 15, 1899. B - M - c - 

The late Dr. Charles Clay—" As a surgeon, I have 
performed a very large number of operations, but I 
do not owe a particle of my knowledge, or skill, to 
vivisection. I challenge any member of my pro- 
fession to prove that vivisection has in any way 
advanced the science of medicine or tended to im- 
prove the treatment of disease."— [Letter in Times, 
July 31, 1880. 


In almost all hotly-discussed subjects, the impartial 
enquirer has much difficulty in discovering how far either 
side has stated the case fairly; both sides being more or 
less biassed. 

But in the vivisection controversy, the situation is less 
chaotic than usual, because all the facts are in the 
possession of one side ; and although these facts, perforce, 
reach us through a biassed medium, we have only one 
bias to deal with, which greatly simplifies matters for 
the enquirer. 

He has to allow for the bias of the vivisector in favour 
of vivisection, and for none other ; except, of course, for 
the natural bias common to all men, who find insuper- 
able difficulty in believing that the deeds which they 
spend their lives in committing can be, in anyway, liable 
to reasonable objection. 

There is, of course, an opposite bias on the part of anti- 
vivisectionists ; but this cannot touch the evidence as to 
the nature of the practice, or the pain it involves, since even 
the most rabid anti-vivisectionist — (I employ the orthodox 
term) — can adduce as testimony regarding vivisection 
only the works of vivisectors themselves ; unless, indeed, he 
should set to work to calumniate innocent vivisectors 
out of sheer devilry, in which case his false statements 
could be easily disproved. Eccentric indeed must that 
person be who should go out of his way to call down 
upon himself, for no object whatever, all the abuse and 
scorn that is heaped upon the advocate of an unpopular 
cause ; abuse and scorn which even Richard Martin did 

not escape, scarcely seventy-five years ago, when he 
introduced into the House a Bill for the prevention of 
cruelty to animals ; * his pleading on behalf of these 
helpless fellow-creatures being greeted by honourable 
members with shouts of laughter. As a matter of fact, 
complete evidence of the methods of vivisection no out- 
sider is ever likely to obtain. The darkest secrets of 
laboratory practice we shall never know; though, indeed, 
it is impossible to conceive anything more awful than the 
facts that are recorded, with a frankness and cynicism 
that is beyond measure startling. t 

In studying this subject, a slight knowledge of 
physiological terms and facts is necessary to complete 
understanding of the experiments recorded, and the 
language employed in the records is so colourless and 
technical, that a little thought is needed before the mind 
can grasp, even slightly, any idea of the martyrdom 
which is being thus calmly described. 

* " The Ill-treatment of Cattle Bill," commonly known as " Martin's 
Act," passed 1822. 

f Professor Friedrich Goltz, in his work " Ueber die Verrichtungen des 
Grosshirns," has a chapter headed " On the disturbances of motion after 
mutilation of one half of the brain (Grosshiru)." On p. 31, the Professor 
speaks of" these numerous experiences," of which, in the foregoing pages, 
he has given examples. On the same page he describes " a very clever, 
lively, young female dog, whose head was trepanned in two places, and the 
left side of the brain (linke Grosshirn) washed out (durchspillt). After the 
operation, the animal had a slight inclination to turn in a circle towards the 
left .... If one asked the dog to give the left paw, this was 
willingly placed upon the hand." The Professor goes on to say that if the 
animal was very energetically asked for the right foot, yet the foot 
remained rooted to the ground, but if one continued more insistently to ask 
for it " the dog had a disturbed expression, and at last reached its left foot 
over, as if instead of the right, which it was unable to offer." For the 
purposes of experiments such as this, Professor Goltz mentions " that the 
servant of the Institute was commissioned by me, in the purchase of 
animals, to pay special attention to procuring dogs which had already 
learnt this trick" (p. 31). 

The vast majority of people are persuaded, or try to 
persuade themselves, that all experiments are performed 
under anaesthetics. This, alas, is one of the popular 
fallacies that are peculiarly dangerous, because of the 
grain of truth that lies in them. Many experiments are, 
indeed, performed wholly or partly under an anaesthetic 
or a narcotic (the latter is not a true ancesthetic), but the 
real suffering often begins after the animal has recovered 
from its influence, when the pain caused by the muti- 
lation, or drug, or vein-injection commences to be felt. 
This suffering often goes on for hours, or days, or months, 
till the animal dies, or is required for further experiment. 

Dr. Hoggan, who studied in a great physiological 
school, but abandoned the practice from disgust at its 
cruelty, writes as follows : — 

" I am inclined to look upon anaesthetics as the greatest curse to 
vivisectible animals. They alter too much the normal conditions 
of life to give accurate results, and they are therefore little depended 
upon. They indeed prove far more efficacious in lulling public 
feeling towards the vivisectors than pain in the vivisected."* 

Moreover, let it not be forgotten that the Vivisection 
Act of 1876 contains a clause allowing the vivisector to 
obtain a certificate which gives permission to dispense 
with anaesthetics altogether; and another clause dis- 
pensing with the obligation to kill the animal before 
recovery from the anaesthetic. t 

I will now quote from the works of the celebrated 
vivisector, Claude Bernard, who describes the action of 
curare, so much used in vivisectional practice. If anyone 
not understanding the nature of the drug were to go into 
a laboratory where a curarised animal was being operated 
upon, he would see before him a perfectly motionless 

* In a letter to the Morning Post, February 1st, 1875. 
f See page 2 of "An Act to Amend the Law relating to Cruelty to 
Animals, 15th August, 1876, chap. 77, 39 & 40 Vict." 


creature, apparently insensible, and would go away 
ready to testify to the painlessness of vivisection and to 
the humanity of vivisectors. Yet this is what Claude 
Bernard says of an animal under the influence of the 
drug: — 

" Curare, acting on the nervous system only suppresses the 
actions of the motor nerves, leaving sensation intact.'''' (Italics 
mine.) " . . . . Curare is not an anaesthetic."* 

In his famous paper on curare this prince of vivisectors 
says : — 

" .... we discover that this death which appears to steal 
on in so gentle a manner, and so exempt from pain, is, on the con- 
trary, accompanied by the most atrocious sufferings that the mind of 
man can conceive."f (Italics mine.) 

On page 182 he says : — 

" In this motionless body, behind that glazing eye, .... 
sensitiveness and intelligence persist in their entirety. This corpse 
before us hears and distinguishes all that is done around it. It 
suffers when pinched or irritated ; in a word, it still has feeling 
and volition, but it has lost the instruments which served to manifest 

(The action of curare has been experienced by human 
beings, who describe their sensations, and feelings of 
helplessness, as unspeakably awful.) 

That the reader may judge of the position occupied 
by curare in the work of the laboratory, I quote the 
following from the " Handbook for the Physiological 
Laboratory," 1873, p. 108 : — 

" If the animal [i.e., a. frog] is not curarized, the arrangement 
must be employed which was described in chapter iii. It is, how- 
ever, better to employ curare, as described in chapter xvii. The 
animal is laid on an oblong plate of glass, on which a cork disk is 

placed The disk must have a hole in the middle. 

. . . . At the edges of this aperture pins are stuck, to which 
ligatures attached to the toes may be secured The 

* Revue Scientifique, 1871, p. 892. 

t Revtie des Deux Mondes, September, 1864, p. 173. 

preparation of the mesentery is not so simple. A snip is made in 
the right side of the belly .... the incision is then continued 
upwards and downwards, in such directions as to avoid bleeding 
. . . . the muscles are divided in the same vertical line. This 
having been done, the intestine and mesentery are drawn out 

carefully, and laid on the anterior surface of the belly 

The intestine then lies in the trough C, while the mesentery rests on 
the glass plate B. So much of the intestine as does not occupy the 
trough must be replaced. If the observation is prolonged (as in 
researches on inflammation), it is well to place in the trough, outside 
of the intestine, a layer of filter paper, on which half per cent, 
solution of salt is dropped from time to time." 

The preparation of the tongue for the next experiment 
commences : — " The animal must be curarized as before." 
The editor, in his preface to this volume from which I 
quote, begins as follows : — 

" This book is intended for beginners in physiological work. It 
is a book of methods, not a compendium of the science of physiology, 
and consequently claims a place rather in the laboratory than in 
the study." 

I might, alas, fill volumes with quotations of experi- 
ments of every conceivable, and, to most of us, 
inconceivable kind : — experiments on the eye,* the sensory 
tracts, t the action of the brain after parts of it have 
been sliced away,| on the nature of pain and its action 
on different parts of the system ;§ experiments with 
burning]' and freezing,H subjecting the creature to 
atmospheric pressure until it becomes as stiff" as a 

* " Handbook for the Physiological Laboratory," 1873, pp. 160-1-2. 

t Ferrier's " Functions of the Brain," 1886, p. 325. 

% Ueber die Verrichtungen des Grosshims, F. Goltz, p. 31. 

§ Mantegazza's Eisiologia del Dolore (" Physiology of Pain"). Florence, 
1880, p. 95. 

|| Dr. G. W. Crile's An Experimental Research into Surgical Shock. 
Philadelphia, p. 118. The first series of these experiments were performed at 
University College, London, with the permission of Professor Victor 

IT Kirke's " Physiology," 13th Edition, 1892, p. 538. " It appears that 
rabbits can be cooled down to 48 F. before they die." 


board ;* tormenting a dog in order to test its feelingst 
by successive cruelties, which make one almost despair of 
human nature, or of human society, which permits a 
practice wherein such things are possible, to remain under 
the protection of the law. Many of the experiments 
can scarcely be set down in black and white, so sickening 
are they in the hideous anguish which the operators 
coldly, sometimes jestingly record ; so haunting and 
heart-breaking are the revelations of the torments, which 
man — not content with the pain and misery already 
abounding in the world — deliberately and systematically 
inflicts upon defenceless fellow-creatures, who have done 
him no wrong. 

Is man justified in so acting ? It is a question par 
excellence for an Ethical Society to consider. 

In spite of the most complete ignorance of the whole 
subject, popular opinion is entirely firm and confident 
that vivisection is a justifiable and necessary proceeding, 
" when properly conducted and in due moderation " ; — a 
delightfully nebulous definition which must rejoice the 
heart of the true vivisector ! 

For clearly, it is left to him and to his friends to decide 
what " vivisection properly conducted " really is, and it 
is also confided to them to determine the precise limits 
of "moderate vivisection." Would it, for instance, be 
considered "moderate," if the operator inoculated one 
eye of an animal with virus for some experimental 
purpose, and not the other ? % Or would it be " moderate 
vivisection " to bake merely a paltry ten cats or so to 

* Paul Bert, La Pression Barunutrique, p. 800. 

t Elliotson's " Human Phy.-iology," p. 450. 

J For eye inoculations see " Further Report on the Etiology of 
Diphtheria," by Dr. E. Klein, F.R.S., Appendix B, Medical Report to the 
Local Government Board, 1889. 


death,* in order to study the effects of a rise of tempera- 
ture on the action of the heart, when one might quite as 
easily have baked twenty cats ? When the moderate 
person talks on this question in that balanced spirit, and 
in the particular tone which corresponds to it, one feels 
that it would be a simple matter to make out a case for 
moderate and properly conducted murder, under careful 
supervision, or for properly restricted burglary, or for 
mitigated arson. Without comparing the respective 
natures of these crimes with the practice of vivisection, 
and without begging the question by calling vivisection 
a crime, I think it is very clear that if it is a crime, then 
the number of eyes or the number of cats does not alter 
the fact of its criminal character ; and if it be innocent, 
then it also does not matter how often an experiment is 
performed, while to restrict and regulate an innocent 
practice is entirely inconsequent. The relatives of a 
murdered man would not be likely to be mollified if the 
murderer pleaded that, after all, this was only his third 
victim. There are, indeed, many actions which do 
depend for their character upon the moderation or 
excess with which they are committed (such as smoking, 
or drinking, and so forth), but it can scarcely be con- 
tended that vivisection is among them. Either it is 
wrong to torture creatures for our own ends, or it is not 
wrong, and no amount of " moderation " alters the 
character of the deed. Now vivisection — by which I 
imply not that which most people believe it to be, but 

* Experiments by Dr. Lauder Brunton and Theodore Cash, quoted by 
Mark Thornhill from the October number of the Practitioner, 1884. The 
words " baked to death " are naturally not employed by ihe experimenters ; 
but the particulars and figures which they give showing ,to what exact 
temperature the animals were raised before they died of " hyperpyrexia," 
i.e., over-heating, reveal the fate of these unfortunate animals, a fate which, 
in unprofessional language, is that of being baked to death. 


that which it really is, viz., the torturing of animals in 
the most prolonged and exquisite manner, in the pursuit 
of knowledge — vivisection is a practice which it is not 
possible to regard with indifference, (unless questions of 
right and wrong are of no interest to us). If it be not 
wholly and completely justifiable, and, indeed, laudable ; 
if the principle involved in it be not triumphantly sound 
and capable of application in all questions of morality 
and social life, then vivisection must be among the 
blackest and most dastardly of crimes, however admir- 
able and even humane, in other directions, may be the 
men who devote themselves to that pursuit. 

To the examination of that question and that principle 
I propose to devote a second article in the October 
number of this magazine. I shall then ask my readers 
to consider what must be the social effect of an open 
acceptance of the principle involved in vivisection ; viz., 
that the weak (if only they are weak and friendless 
enough) may be maltreated for the benefit of the strong, 
the inferior for the superior, the unimportant for the 
important ; that after all, and by the pronouncement of 
the most advanced and civilised peoples, Might is Right. 

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[From November, iSgj, Our Dumb A>u'nials.~\ 

111 1876 we bad the pleasure of addressing the 
great Biennial National Unitarian Conference, held 
once in two years at Saratoga Springs, for the pur- 
pose of bringing before that denomination the claims 
of the lower animals. While waiting for our turn 
to speak, the question of building a Unitarian 
church in Washington, D. C, came before the con- 
vention, and the distinguished Rev. Dr. Bellows, of 
New York city, in advocating it said "that there 
was probably no place in the known world where 
could be found a greater gathering of ' infernal in- 
tellect' than at Washington." 

We wonder whether what Dr. Bellows said in re- 
gard to Washington is not coming too true over a 
large part of our whole country, and what our col- 
leges and educational institutions are doing to prevent 
it. We can hardly take up a newspaper in this 
month of October without reading of college foot- 
ball and base-ball fights [with gambling accompani- 
ments] or some other kind of fights between colleges, 
or between classes in the same colleges. And then 
we read of biological studies in colleges which 
require all students, as a part of their education, to 
dissect cats, and how cat farms are being estab- 
lished near these colleges to raise animals for the 
use of the students — and how the same education is 
being carried not only into our colleges and higher 
schools, but also in many cases even into our gram- 
mar schools ; and then how our millionaires are 
pouring their gifts into educational institutions to 
increase this education, and we wonder what all this 
business is coming to in the neoct generation, or what 
the benefit would have been to us if President Lin- 
coln, Charles Sumner, Daniel Webster, and other 
distinguished men, north and south, had been simi- 
larly educated. 

■ ^ c 

"Infernal Intellect." 

And there seems to be growing up all over our 
country a love of fighting — more battle-ships, more 
armed cruisers, more torpedo boats, more great 
.guns, more military training in our schools. The 
newspapers say that we are going to take the Sand- 
wich Islands, and there is some talk of our birying 
a part of Greenland, and it is even suggested that 
we buy the Island of Madeira on the other side of 
the Atlantic, while at the same time we ai^ pro- 
claiming to the world that no other nation shall ever 
acquire by purchase or otherwise a single acre of 
territory in this western hemisphere. 

There were nearly eleven thousand murders in our 

(country last year, while in England and "Wales there' J 
were during the same length of time year before last 
only one hundred and sixty-three. 

We wonder what all this is coming to, and what 

our colleges and educational institutions and our 

Christian churches even are doing to hasten the 

coming of "peace on earth" and [saying nothing 

\ of the lower creatures] " good ivill to men." 

But while we wonder we shall continue to work 
with such means as we can obtain [so long as we 
have power to work] to send out into all our schools 
the teachings of peace and mercy which seem to us 
best calculated to promote civilization and humanity, 
the pi'osperity of our country, the protection of 
property and life, arid to make the world happier 
and better. Geo. T. Angell. 


MILTON asks: 

C Shall I abuse this consecrated gift of 
strength ? " 


"Your highness shall from this practice but 
make hard your heart ; besides the seeing these 
effects will be both noisome and infectious." 

(Speech of the Doctor to the Queen in "Cymbeline.") 


Hon. Sec, 11, Woronzow Road, London, N.W. 
L. 41. 

"Watch the students at a vivisection. It is the 
blood and suffering, not the science, that rivets their breath- 
less attention. If hospital service makes young students 
less tender of suffering, vivisection deadens their humanity, 
and begets indifference to it." 

(Prof Henry J. Bigelow, M.D., (late) Professor of Surgery in 
Harvard University. Annual Address before ihe Massachusetts 
Medical Society. June 7th, 1871). 





In the last number of this magazine, I tried to show, 
as well as a few words on so vast a subject would permit, 
that the pain endured by the victims of vivisection is 
extremely severe ; so horrible, indeed, in many cases, as 
to task one's powers of belief, recorded though these 
martyrdoms are by those who inflict them. I gave 
references with every assertion I made, so that the 
reader could verify all statements for himself, if he 
wished to do so. 

Let the reader then — for the moment at least — grant 
that torture to animals is involved in vivisection, by the 
very nature of the practice and its aims. The question 
of fact being settled, the question of ethics arises : Is 
the infliction of such torture on man's helpless depen- 
dents justifiable, and if so, on what grounds ? The 
usual, and in fact, the only answer given is : It is 
justifiable on the ground that man is superior to animals, 
and that the suffering of the inferior is of no moment, 
in comparison with the hoped-for benefit to the superior. 

Now, I propose to examine the principles involved in 
this reply, and to ask my readers to enquire whether 
those principles are in line with ethical development, 
whether they are progressive or retrograde in character, 
whether their acceptance by the public, and their sanction 
by law, is likely to further the movement of human 
society in the direction of security and liberty, in the 
growth of brotherly harmony, and of general well-being. 
Let us consider the vivisector's contention. " It is 


justifiable," he asserts, " to inflict torture on the weaker 

inferior for what we may happen to believe will bring 

benefit to the stronger superior. It is justifiable to 

commit a deed that is, in itself, atrocious, so long as our 

object can be shewn to be important. In that case, the 

atrocity changes its character, and becomes laudable." 

/ This theory is no new discovery; indeed, it savours of 

/the Middle Ages, when the Church held just such a 

/ creed, and carried out her views with the help of fire and 

/ sword, thumbscrew and rack — very much as science now 

carries out her aims by means strangely similar. 

The Church claimed that for the sake of her important 
end she_ might employ all necessary means (as she con- 
sidered them) : the good end sanctifying the hideous 

To this sacerdotal superstition the high priests of 
science have become heirs. It is not a little singular 
and significant that the scientific priesthood have stepped 
into the place once usurped by the Church, repeating 
her tyranny over the public conscience, repeating the 
stupendous claims which she made for her special 
objects ; demanding a privilege which, in these days, is 
granted to no other avocation or interest or body whatso- 
ever, viz., to pursue just ends by cruel and unjust means. 

Putting aside, for the moment, all other points, why 
should science enjoy a monopoly of this privilege? It 
is surely an offence against public liberties, which every 
other body and interest has a right to resent, on this 
ground alone. If cruelty is to be justified by its object 
in one case, why, in the name of common justice, not 
in another ? 

A law exists in the statute-book of England which 
forbids cruelty to (domestic) animals. Another law 
exists which permits a particular class of men to obtain 
certificates by which, for their -special ends, cruelty may 


nevertheless be perpetrated. Why, then, may not religion, 
whose ends (from her own point of view and that of vast 
numbers) are far more vitally important than those of 
science, obtain a special charter for cruelty, on the same 
plea of a good object ? Why may not commerce, or 
agriculture, or art, claim the same right ? 

In Florence in the sixteenth century, the injustice of 
granting such a monopoly was evidently felt, for while 
physiologists were provided with victims from the state 
prisons to aid their learned researches, art also, it is 
said, put in a successful claim to a similar indulgence; 
a religious painter having obtained a prisoner from the 
Duke of Florence, with permission to have the miserable 
man crucified, in order to study his anguished face, and 
so be enabled to paint a moving picture of the crucifixion. 
The artist, doubtless, believed he could thus move men's 
souls and bring them to salvation, and he felt that the 
pangs of this wretched criminal were not worth a 
moment's consideration, in comparison with the im- 
portance of the service to art and to religion, which those 
pangs might render. 

And if the principle of the vivisector is to be accepted 
(that important ends justify atrocious means), then the 
painter was perfectly right — from his own point of view 
— as the vivisector is from his. But does the general 
public really accept this principle which has justified 
every atrocity that has eve r been committed by powerful 
monopolies, since the world began ? If the inferiority of 
a victim compared with the importance of an object has 
really anything to do with the matter, then the painter 
was right and the vivisector is right, and their principle 
(being right) ought to be universally appjied_ in social 
life — that is to say, the importance and superiority of a 
sentient being should be recognised as the sole reason 
for exempting him from maltreatment under the law, for 


the sake of science, or humanity, or whatever object we 
may happen to consider of most vital importance to the 
State. That being so, the question of superiority 
becomes a burning one indeed ! 

It is, of course, idle and impossible to attempt to 
decide exactly how inferior a sentient being must be, in 
order to exonerate his tormentors from blame. That 
clearly would involve a purely arbitrary decision, devoid 
of all logic or principle. There are idiots and maniacs 
and criminals who are certainly not superior, in any 
sense, to the dogs and horses so indescribably 
tortured by physiologists ; yet if the principle on which 
they profess to justify these tortures were generally and 
honestly applied, there could be no sound reason for 
exempting those luckless products of our social state 
from the torments of the laboratory. The idiot, the 
maniac, and the criminal, would become the legitimate 
prey of the humane physiologist. In fact it would 
all become a mere matter of comparison — and what is 
worse — of opinion ; those below the average being 
regarded as fair game for the vivisector, who benevolently 
wishes to benefit the average : the average, again, being 
utilized, in the same way, for the good of the 
exceptionally noble and superior — though one wonders 
how long men and women exceptionally noble would 
continue to appear in this vivisectional order of society ! 
As a matter of fact, the race would inevitably degenerate 
into something worse than savage ; and with increasing 
criminality and selfishness, even the physical type would 
be rapidly lowered — science notwithstanding. The 
moral law will not be so cheated. 

Let the reader try to find a principle which justifies 
vivisection, and at the same time allows itself to be 
applied to civilized society, without showing itself 
laughably absurd. I defy him to logically achieve that 


feat. Is it not plain to anyone admitting the existence 
of a moral obligation at all, that the claim to exemption 
from torture of either man or animal rests on the fact 
that he can feci it? Superiority has clearly nothing to do 

(with the matter. As Jeremy Bentham so well says, in 
claiming the right of animals to this exemption : " The 
question is not, Can they reason, or can they speak ? 
. . . . but, Can they suffer ? " 

If the test question were really, in all strictness : " Can 
they reason ? " it is difficult to see how the majority of 
the human species would escape the hands of the 
physiologist. Certainly the average supporter of vivisec- 
tion ought, in such a case, to beware of explaining why 
he thought it justifiable to vivisect animals ! 

Nor is this a mere gibe. In this, as in all other 
subjects which are still in the stage of ridicule or 
opposition, the reasoning powers of opponents are not 
brought into real action. The issues and principles, 
and their relation to principles already accepted, have 
never forced themselves upon the understanding ; 
and intellects that are, in other directions, keen and 
honest, assume in regard to the luckless topic all the 
attributes of a feeble and even of a disingenuous mind. 

I have purposely abstained, in these articles, from 
making a special appeal to the hearts and sympathies of 
my readers, for I am convinced that it is not primarily 
the heart, but the intellect that is usually at fault, on 
this question. What heart could be so base as to cheer 
on the man who dissects living animals, unless some 
intellectual conception, some theory or idea had 
redirected the heart and conscience, and thus over- 
powered every prompting of chivalry and pity ? 

It is, in fact, this preposterous theory which I have 
been examining, viz., that the inferior may be justly 
tortured for the good of the superior (if the inferior be 


only sufficiently defenceless), which lies at the bottom of 
the strange perversion of feeling (as I regard it) now so 
common even among kind and conscientious people. It 
is to this intellectual confusion that I especially desire to 
call attention, in these articles. It has been impossible, 
in the space at my command, to do more than this. 
The practice is increasing, year by year, and it is 
leading, as it naturally must, to human vivisection, 
under various disguises and pretexts. Part of the 
natural penalty is already beginning to fall upon the 
human race, which thus tries to evade the moral law. 

All who believe in that law ought to ask themselves 
whether they can conscientiously support, or rather 
whether they can refrain from strongly opposing this 
practice, resting as it does on a principle which would 
reduce human society to savagery if generally applied, a 
principle which checks the tendency of developing 
humanity to include in its sympathies and its justice 
other races and kinds of suffering beings ; which teaches 
the sacrifice of the weak for the strong, and puts to 
utter confusion all that we have so slowly and grudgingly 
learnt of moral truth, every generous and protective 
instinct, every fine impulse of justice and chivalry : — in 
short, every quality that ennobles the human character, 
and justifies hope for the future of the race. 

[Mr. Hickson's Reply occurred here in the Original Series.] 

" Dr. Albert Leffingwell of New York, in- 
vestigator for twenty-five years, says that 
in Paris he " visited the Pasteur Institute " 
where he "was told there were over 2,000 
rabbits awaiting their fate . . . But neither 
the great number of victims . . . nor the 
vast iron cage with dogs tearing at their 
chains so impressed his memory as the 
scores of rabbits that he saw tying in com- 
partments slowly dying with their eyes rot- 
ting out." 

Prof. Lawson Tait, one of the most Eminent 
Surgeons in England. 
" Like every member of my profession, I was 
brought up in the belief that by vivisection had been 
obtained almost every important fact in physiology, 
and that many of our most valued means of saving 
life and diminishing suffering had resulted from ex- 
periments on the lower animals. I now know that 
nothing of the sort is true concerning the art of sur- 
gery, and not only do I not believe that vivisection 
has helped the surgeon one bit, but I know that it 
has often led him astray." 

Sir Thomas Watsun,. M.D., (Ex-President Royal h - Clay Paddock, M. D., New York city:— "I am op- 

College of Physicians.) posed to vivisection, for my own experience of years in 

"One of the greatest physicians who ever lived ^ e Moratory, and that of others, has convinced me 

. . Sir Thomas Watson, told me himself, not that i these experiments are misleading, useless and 

cruel " 
long before he died, that young men had to unlearn 

at the bedside what they had learned in the labora- 
tory."— (From speech of Canon Wilberforce, Jun« 
22d, 1892, reported in the Zoophilist, July, 1892, p. 80/ 


In speaking of the statements made in my two previous 
articles in this magazine, Mr. Hickson says: — 

" . . . . neither the statements themselves, nor the denial of 
their truth, can materially assist those earnest thinkers .... 
who really wish to form an opinion as to whether vivisection is, or 
is not, justifiable." 

In the next paragraph, however, Mr. Hickson proceeds 
to deny, with some warmth, those very statements, as if, 
on second thoughts, he felt that, after all, they were not 
entirely alien to the point at issue. Indeed, how the 
truth or falsity of statements respecting the pain involved 
in vivisection could possibly be considered of little 
moment to those who are trying to form their opinion 
on the subject, is difficult to understand. 

Forgetting that he considers the matter of no 
importance, Mr. Hickson then gives us the results of his 
wide experience in English and foreign laboratories, and 
says that he cannot conceive on whose authority I state 
that animals " are tortured in a prolonged and exquisite 
manner." I made the statement on the strength of all 
that I have read in the works of physiologists ; and in my 
articles I quoted, with chapter and verse, accounts of 
experiments that seemed to me to bear out what I said. 
One could scarcely expect vivisectors to describe their 
operations in such unprofessional terms as mine. Yet, 
as it happened, curiously enough, in the very article 
which Mr. Hickson criticises, I quoted a description by 
the celebrated vivisector, Claude Bernard, of experi- 
ments performed on animals under the influence of 


curare. They are subjected, he says, "to the most 
(atrocious sufferings that the mind of man can conceive. 9 '* 
\ I may claim, then, that one of my authorities is Claude 
Bernard himself; and I do not think that any anti- 
vivisector, even if perversely bent on exaggeration, could 
say anything much stronger than is said by this king 
among vivisectors ! 

It is somewhat difficult to understand what position 
Mr. Hickson really means to take up, for he wanders 
uneasily from position to position, and back again, all 
through his article ; first denying indignantly that 
animals are tortured, and then devoting much ingenuity 
to prove that it is perfectly justifiable to torture 

Numerous cruel customs are adduced as justification, 
and Mr. Hickson brings forward the whole question of 
the rights of animals ; and throws in the teeth of his 
opponents the captive horse pressed into the service of 
man, the dog deprived of liberty, and even the cater- 
pillars among the leaves of cauliflowers possibly 
destroyed when the vegetable is eaten. If the principles 
of the anti-vivisectionists were pressed to their con- 
clusion, Mr. Hickson contends, " our homes would be 
infested with rats and our bodies with vermin." 

That is to say, we must not shorten the existence of 
an animal which invades our houses, nor deprive of life 
creatures so low in the scale of being as to be scarcely 
sentient, if we venture to protest against the infliction 
of torments on highly organised, and, therefore, highly 
sensitive animals : creatures with a nervous organisation 
not unlike our own, with feelings and intelligence and 
warm affections, to be outraged by the cruel treachery 
of the being whom they so loyally trust and serve. 

* See page 8 of this pamphlet. 



The anti-vivisectionist (qua anti-vivisectionist) does not 
go further into the problem of animals' rights than is 
involved in his protest against the supreme and culmi- 
nating outrage of man against them : viz., the organised 
and systematic torture of these creatures for human 
ends. Whatever other wrongs (and they are many) may 
be done them, thisjs the supreme and crowning wrong 
(according to the opponent of the practice) ; this is the 
summing up, and justifying, and systematising of all 
man's tyranny and baseness towards those beings who 
lie so utterly at his mercy. Nothing can justify it, unless 
we deny to weakness all rights, and deprive strength of 
all moral responsibility. And in that case, there would 
be no question of justification for anything, as there 
would be no moral standard or perception to demand it. 

We find, in vivisection, the extreme case of strength 
taking advantage of weakness, with the added evil that 
it erects the outrage into a legal practice, and gathers 
round it all the sentiment and instinctive submission 
with which the average man or woman regards an 
institution backed by law, and by the authority of a 
powerful and justly-respected profession. As for delaying 
our protest against this supreme outrage until we have 
taken a definite stand on all the minor and more recon- 
dite questions regarding the rights of animals — as well 
might a man postpone rescuing his neighbour from the 
attack of an intending murderer, until he had quite made 
up his mind also to set his face against war and capital 
punishment ! 

Killing and torturing stand on entirely different planes, 
and man acknowledges the fact in his laws and customs 
and sentiments. Even the laws of civilised warfare 
recognise the distinction. A soldier is applauded for 
killing his enemies, but he would scarcely meet with the 
same reception if he were to torture them. The 


murderer is hanged (rightly or wrongly), but he is not 
tortured. (These instances are adduced merely to 
remind my readers of the acknowledged difference 
between the two acts, among civilised mankind.) 
Therefore, it is not necessary, I contend, to wait until 
(for instance) the whole world has decided against a 
carnivorous diet, before we may protest against the 
torturing of animals by vivisection. It is not incumbent 
upon a man to make up his mind to ascend the highest 
steps of a flight, before he ventures to put his foot on the 
first one. If it were so, it is hard to see how any sort of 
human progress would be possible. All that is asked by 
the opponent of vivisection (in that capacity), is that 
human beings should apply to this question the same 
ordinary moral tests that they would apply in other 
departments of existence. He asks merely that they do 
not descend below the level required by the commonly 
accepted standard of their day, nor drag their genera- 
tion back to a darker stage of moral consciousness. 
The standard which humanity has achieved, in general, 
in all departments of social life, (with the exception of 
this one secret department), is obviously above that 
which suddenly confuses killing with torturing, and 
professes to see no difference between a surgeon and a 

As to the vermin question, cleanliness is the best 
protection against their aggressions : but if we are un- 
willing or unable to adopt this extreme measure, then we 
may cut short the existence of parasites, without feeling 
obliged to discontinue our protest against the systematic 
torturing of highly organised and, therefore, highly 
sensitive animals. 

But, once more : if vivisection does not cause torture 
to animals, why does Mr. Hickson resort to these truly 
desperate measures in order to justify it ? It seems 


irreverent to suggest it in relation to the arguments of 
science, but the well-known anecdote irresistibly recurs 
to the memory, of the defence of the Irishwoman 
accused of stealing her neighbour's saucepan : " I niver 
set eyes on the saucepan, yer honour — and, besides, it 
was broken ! " However, as Mr. Hickson shifts his 
ground in this confusing manner, there is nothing for it 
but to follow him to his new stronghold. Assuming 
(necessarily at this point) that my opponent has conceded 
that, after all, the vivisector does sometimes get carried 
away by the force of his good motive to inflict a little 
torture on his victims, we have to examine the justifica- 
tion for this torture — justification other than that behind 
which all cruelties and wrongs may find shelter, viz., 
that other people commit wrongs and cruelties too. 
Mr. Hickson says that the motive gives the real 
character to a deed, and adduces, as proof, an instance of 
a doctor "torturing" a boy by removing his aching 
tooth. This suggests the astonishing inference that the 
doctor and the vivisector are equally justified in their 
deeds by their good motives. Mr. Hickson thus ignores 
the difference between inflicting pain on a consenting 
patient for his own good, and inflicting pain on a non- 
consenting victim for the good (real or supposed) of 
o ther s. The motive, he insists, is the all-important 
matter. This theory opens a wide field for human 
enterprise. The bomb-thrower, the fanatic, the per- 
secutor for the sake of the " truth ", would all, (on this 
principle), be in a position to demand of society not only 
submission to their drastic proceedings, but legal sanction 
and protection while they pursued their excellent object 
— of course with proper certificates and under careful 
, supervision. This is what a vivisector demands and gets_ 
from an indulgent country, convinced of the amiability of 
his motives. But in justice to enterprises of other kinds, 

2 4 

society should be reminded that there are many practices 
besides vivisection that can plead a good motive. Can 
it be really necessary to point out that the motive is all- 
important as regards a man's own moral stains, but that 
society has to prevent aggression and outrage upon the 
weak, quite irrespective of the aggressor's motive for his 
assault and battery ? 

Mr. Hickson says that " it is not difficult to write 
pages about the sacrificing of the weak to the strong, 
and columns to prove that might is not right, which are 
after all a meaningless jargon of words." Of course, 
one may be unlucky enough to produce a meaningless 
jargon of words on any subject on which one undertakes 
to write. But it does not seem to me that Mr. Hickson 
proves (for instance) that might is right, or that the weak 
ought to be systematically sacrificed to the strong, 
merely by repeating his opponent's assertions in a derisive 
manner. This particular form of argument strikes one 
as more popular than scientific. 

That the weak are generally sacrificed to the strong is 
indeed true ; but surely the test of the ethical develop- 
ment and civilisation of a nation, is precisely the degree 
of protection which the community affords to right 
irrespective of might. Surely it is not necessary to plead 
with the members of an ethical society on such a point. 

The principle on which vivisection rests is, in fact, in 
flat contradiction to the principles by following which 
the human race develops morally, and therefore pro- 
gresses also intellectually and physically, in the long run. 
Dominion, indeed, as Mr. Hickson contends, is the 
natural heritage of the strong over the weak. But as 
the moral perceptions of the race enlarge, and we thereby 
learn to solve some of our most difficult problems, it is clear 
that man will no longer be able to face the idea of shifting, 
or trying to shift, the burden he has made for himself, by his 


own sin and folly, on to the shoulders of his weaker 
brethren. To hope that he could really ultimately gain 
by so dastardly an outrage, seems to imply a deep-seated 
unbelief in the reality of the moral law, and of the 
harmony of the forces — moral and physical — that govern 
the universe. Whatever our immediate successors may 
decide as to the general question of the rights of 
animals, and the duties of men towards them, it is 
certain that the human conscience already protests 
against systematically inflicting torture upon them, for 
any object, good or bad ; and that, in proportion as the 
moral sense grows in clearness and insight, strength of 
all kinds will be used less and less for the ends of 
personal dominion, and more and more for purposes of 
chivalry and of mercy. 

Blessed are the merciful." 

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Pewtress & Co., Printers, 28, Little Queen Street, High Holborn, London, W.C 

^0tktu fox tljt ^bnlition of ftitrimttott. 


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Secretary : 

Miss E. M. WRIGHT. 



Society for tbe Bbolition of Direction. 

What is Vivisection ? By Edith Carrington . 

Appeal to the Ministers of Religion. 

Short Appeal to the Public. 

Lord Carnarvon on Vivisection. 

Dr. Martineau and Mr. Ruskin on Vivisection. 

Protest Against Vivisection. By William Huifiit. 

Letter on Vivisection. By William Hoivitt. 

The Poets and the Physiologists. 

Dr. Chalmers on Vivisection. 

The Trichina Spiralis; "Animals were Sent for our Use.'" 

Nine Reasons Against the Scientific Torture of Animals.. 
By Professor F. W. Nezvman. 

Anaesthetics and the Lower Animals. By George Hoggan, M.B.. 

Cerebral-Localization and Brain-Surgery. 

Man's Injustice to Animals ; the Brown Animal Sanatory 
Institution. Third Edition. 

The above and other publications of the Society may be 
obtained on application to the Secretary, 

Miss E. M. Wright, 62, Strand, London, YV.C.